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Silver Infatuation

We humans have had an infatuation with silver for more than five millennia. For well over 5,000 years, it has served the world for many purposes.

It began when it was first mined around 3,000 BCE in Anatolia, which is now part of modern-day Turkey. In about 1,200 BCE, the centre of silver production shifted to Greece’s Laurium mines, where it continued to feed the region’s growing empires, even providing currency for ancient Athens. By about 100 BCE, the centre of silver mining moved to Spain, where the mines became a major supplier for the Roman Empire and an essential trading component along the Asian spice routes.

The historical steady increase in the use of silver did create supply problems. However, the dwindling supply sources of silver dramatically changed when Christopher Columbus, looking for new routes to sail to Asia, discovered the New World.

Bolivia, Peru and Mexico went on to produce over 85 percent of world silver production. These increases were spurred by discoveries in Australia, Central America, Europe, Canada, the United States, Africa, Mexico, Chile, Japan, and elsewhere.

Inquisitive experimenters in Anatolia learned to roast the ore in a cupel, a shallow porous container in which noble metals could be refined by melting them with a blast of hot air in a special furnace which oxidizes lead and other base metals. Cupellation is still used today.

Its aesthetic appeal in ancient cultures created its use for jewellery, tableware, figurines, and ritual objects. Rough-cut scrap pieces were called Hacksilver, or Hacksilber, and were used in trade as a predecessor of silver currency.

The Mesopotamian shekel – the first known form of silver currency – emerged nearly 5,000 years ago. In Asia Minor, the elites of Lydia and Ionia, Iron Age kingdoms of western Asia Minor, used stamped silver and gold coins to pay armies. And ancient silver trade replaced the barter system.

Silver is most often integrated with other metals. Advances in mining techniques enhanced the ability to separate it from these ores and made it possible to handle larger volumes of material.

Today, silver maintains its ranking as a very special fundamental metal. As the world evolves into a wide variety of new directions, silver continues as a significant component of many of these developments.

Jewellery, silverware, coins, mirrors, photography, dental alloys, solder and brazing, medical, solar technology, batteries, ball bearings, autos, electronics, nano silver, superconductors, and awards and awards and awards on and on, and on - so goes the world of silver.

Last Updated on: 2024-02-29